Refund money: Good or bad idea?

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls in the Financial Aid Office about refund money. Should the student take out extra money? How can they use it? Here’s what I recommend:

If you are living on campus, most of the things you will need are covered in your cost of tuition for the year. Think about it: your housing is paid for, your meal plan is paid for, and there are tons of free activities happening on campus all of the time. You probably don’t need to take out a lot of money for extra expenses. If you are someone who enjoys an occasional trip to the mall for retail therapy or who enjoys going out to eat, pick up a part time job. There are plenty of departments on campus that are very flexible with hours and can work with your schedule.

If you live off campus, I completely understand the stress of not knowing whether or not you’ll be able to pay for your rent. If that’s the case, here’s what I recommend: figure out what your total cost of rent will be for that semester/year, and figure out how much of it you’ll be able to cover yourself through a savings account or a part time job. What you can’t cover, you can borrow in a refund and set that money aside for rent. I would recommend the same advice for groceries and other monthly bills as well.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to refund money, in my opinion, is to remember that it’s money that you’re going to have to pay back eventually. Use it wisely and only on things that you need.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~Alexis

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